A possible building code change to require “higher-quality” apartment construction in Sandy Springs is moving ahead after a June 21 City Council vote. A state review and a final council vote are still required.

The proposed change would require apartment buildings over three stories tall or over 100,000 square feet in size to be constructed with steel and masonry rather than wood framing.

Current code—which also includes hotels and condos—allows wood-framing up to four stories, or five stories if the building has a fire sprinkler system, and steel and masonry for taller structures.

The move to reduce wood-framed, or “stick-built,” apartments began last fall with advocacy for “high-quality” construction from such community leaders as Trisha Thompson, president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods. One reason is simply better-looking and longer-lasting buildings.

At the City Council meeting, Fire Rescue Chief Keith Sanders said it will improve fire safety, since stick-built housing is more flammable. The change would “greatly reduce the risk of fire spreading so rapidly in the apartment complexes,” he said.

Steel and masonry also costs more, which Mayor Rusty Paul said might discourage infill apartment housing in the city’s “protected neighborhoods” of old-school suburban single-family homes.

The council approved sending the code change to the state Department of Community Affairs, which oversees building codes, for review. Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert said it may return to the council for full adoption in September.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

4 replies on “Sandy Springs moves to require ‘higher-quality’ apartments”

  1. Eva Galambos would be disappointed. This was not the mandate when we pushed to be a city. Instead we have absentee government and ammoral developers who are destroying the quality of life in Sandy Springs. The traffic is already insane, the pace of redevelopment is out if control, and meanwhile the Taj Mahal rises in tribute to the mayor and others. Boo hiss, Rusty Paul and others.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. Alexander. My blood pressure rises every time I drive around Sandy Springs to get anywhere. The “Taj Mahal” is a joke for a small city. That money could have been used for roads and other productive improvements. Mr. Paul and his friends and the “ammoral developers” have created a monster because of greed. They also want the poor and middle-class who live in the older apartments to be pushed out of “prestigious” Sandy Springs. I’ve lived long enough to know that goes ’round comes ’round; if the economy tanks (which it will eventually), we’ll see who can afford the high-rent office space and apartments here. Perhaps even the mayor, his friends, and the developers will be forced to give up their lavish homes and lifestyles. You never know.

  2. Amen and a attaboy to Mike (above) !!! Well put. Miss Eva would indeed be disappointed in her panty boy but, lets face it, she knew well what a weakling Rusty is.

    FIX THE SCHOOLS … make them safe and able to offer an education to the children who will occupy these apartments. It is an INSULT that council members like Gabe Sterling tell their constituents to “move to Dekalb County” or privately educate their kids ! (Look at your tax bill Mr Sterling and citizens and, imagine adding about $40,000 a year to school two kids each year instead of displaying and standing on your indifferent ignorance !!!) NOT a disappointment .. just an INSULT and, evidence that these “absentee guys” really don’t care !!!

    Easy to roll over for corporations like Mercedes – our Council and leaderless Mayor did that well. Something for real, something that matters and will for years, like FIXING THE SCHOOLS, is a challenge (City Council) our “leadership” has proven over and over again to be just too big for them … and well taxed families suffer and suffer !!

    Painfully disappointed here … in ALL of you !!!

  3. After the approval of several thousand apartments now in development or construction, the city moves to require “higher quality” apartments going forward. What a joke of a group running our town.

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